“Where is JerryBishop” is a great question and one I should have answered a long time ago to explain not posting regularly. The answer of course is that I am right here as I have been all along struggling to get back into the groove of posting on The Higher Ed CIO. So today I will break through my mental barrier to posting by sharing with a bit of an explanation to get things rolling again.
IT Value vs IT Cost
Late last fall I picked up some engagements through another firm. The engagements involve helping clients close the gap in the IT Cost vs IT Value equation. Well that is the way I characterize them.
On the cost side, their IT costs are significantly higher than their industry benchmarks for peer organizations. And when I say significantly higher I mean 2x or 3x. One the value side, they have significant operational issues including frequent unplanned outages, incredibly low availability and application performance, and low IT capability and IT process maturity.
This is exactly the kind of work that I love to do and in many ways feel I am uniquely skilled at. I say that because I instinctively take the business view in assessing what is going on and what is required rather than the IT view. Perhaps most important is that I will tell you what you need to hear not what I think you want to hear.
It is no secret that I have a bit of an obsessive side that is coupled with a bit of a moderate attention span. That means I am frequently immerse myself in my engagements in order to understand the situation holistically and in great detail. I want to understand the business side and the IT organization (people, process and technology) side.
The immersion approach often consumes me and I commit way more time to projects than I should and for that matter often more than what is committed in order to add more value. But this is often very hard on my work-life balance.
Surprisingly, my recent purchase of a new bright orange coffee mug is helping me with keeping my work-life balance in a healthier place. The orange beauty is pictured above and is the coffee mug I take on the road when I travel. It replaces a dark blue coffee mug I have had for many years and seems to offer a mental boost to getting out and doing something other than work even when it is 5 degrees outside.
In the past month or so, some of what I have been working on has left my IT batteries drained at the end of every day. So despite having a lot of very interesting and useful things to share with you, I haven’t been able to muster the energy to finish very many posts.
I have also been struggling with whether or not I should re-brand this site since I am doing so much work outside of higher education. The only reason to make that kind of change is that CIO’s and IT leaders often look for industry specific guidance. But I think I have resolved that struggle and will leave things the way they are.
To help improve the work-life balance and make it so that my world is not “all-IT, all-the-time”, I started working on some other sites that are not IT related. One new site is Prairie Lovers. I launched Prairie Lovers in time for 2013 as a way to share my passion for growing native prairie plants, prairie restoration and other fun things around the old farm.
We are in very challenging times for IT organizations of every size and every industry. In order to respond to these challenges with the required energy and focus there has to be some balance. Although you can immerse your self in a problem for a short period of time, we all need to remember the importance of following a sustainable plan.
For me that means taking care when rolling from one challenging engagement to another and maintaining a healthy balance overall. This requires extra effort every year once the weather turns cold.
The real lesson for me has been realizing how important blogging is achieving these goals. I learned blogging has a therapeutic value in many ways. It helps me clarify my thoughts, gain valuable feedback from readers, and it even helps release some of the stress without having to pay someone to lie on a couch. It is for all those reasons I encourage every CIO to do some form of writing even if it is an internal blog post once a month.
Now the work/fun begins. I have so many interesting things to share that are sure to be helpful to many of you in 2013. BTW – it feels good to be back with you here.